During seasons in my life when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed, the first person I look to for help is my husband. Jason enables me to see the big picture in my life and discern what is important and what isn’t, often by asking me this question: “What is your unique ability, and are you spending a majority of your time doing whatever it is?”
So with the hint of spring in the air and the possibility of renewal after a long winter, I am going to do you a favor and ask you the same question Jason often asks me: What is your unique ability, and are you spending enough time in your life doing whatever it is?
Your unique ability can be defined as the thing that nobody else can do but you. It’s the thing that God created you to do and if you aren’t doing it, the people around you, the world around you, and you yourself will suffer.
A common thread I hear in conversations, especially among women, is, “I don’t know what my unique ability or gifts are. In fact, I don’t know if I really have any.”
Can I say something profound in response to that? Hogwash.
God doesn’t make someone, someone in His image, without giving him or her a unique ability. Without weaving into her very fiber and DNA something only she can do or offer to the people around her that is a unique and beautiful reflection of His goodness and glory.
Your unique ability can be cooking gourmet meals, coaching Little League baseball, welcoming people into your home, hosting Biblestudy, teaching Biblestudy, analyzing financial data, selling real estate, or developing relationships and connecting people. It can be writing, editing, singing, dancing, drawing, or, like my friend Price, simply living with more joy and contentment no matter the circumstances than anyone else I know.
But it can’t be nothing. It is something – something that when you do it, it brings you joy and satisfaction, and joy to the people around you as well. It is something that when you don’t do it, you suffer. You feel deflated and maybe even a little depressed. And if you relegate it to the back burner and start doing a bunch of other things more than you are doing that one thing, you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
What I’ve noticed in my own life is that to do my unique ability well, something has to give. Something has to go. I have to say “No” to two or three or ten things so I can say “Yes” to that one thing.
Right now, I have a couple of unique abilities – a few things that only I can do, I was created to do, and if I don’t do them, I suffer and the people around me suffer.
I am not sure if this is bending the rules of the “unique ability” definition according to my husband, but one of my unique abilities is being Jason’s wife and Lillian, Lizzie, Caroline, and Mia Grace’s mom. When I am doing the ten things and not doing that one thing, I suffer. Jason suffers. My kids suffer. Our home suffers. I’m not talking about when I’m not on top of all the dirty dishes or the dust and dirt that collects in the corners of our kitchen, but I am talking about when I am not delighting in and tending to the heart needs of my husband and kids. They know when I am enjoying them versus when I am gritting my teeth and enduring them because my list of tasks is too long and they are in small print at the bottom.
My other unique ability is creating content and expressing myself through words. That can take on the form of a blog, book, or Biblestudy lesson, but I’ve noticed if I am not giving adequate time to create content and give it away to others, I am stressed and overwhelmed, dejected, and even a little depressed.
The key to being the woman God has called me to be is paying attention to the season I am in and giving my unique ability ample time to flourish and grow. This requires paying attention to what my unique abilities are. This requires saying “No” to things that do not line up with those abilities. This also requires saying “Yes” to the invitation God gives me each and every day to step into the season He has created and step into it with the gifts and abilities He has given me.
I can’t do everything. God hasn’t asked me to or expect me to. I fall off the deep end when I start thinking God requires more of me than is possible for one single human being. I have to pull my pride in constantly – God is God. I am not. He can do everything. I can do a few things. My job is to stay in my lane and do the things He has called, created, equipped, and asked me to do. I can let the rest go. Leave them in His Hands. Surrender to His timing. Trust His ways. And let the peace flood in.
So this week, this spring, this season, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is your unique ability?
- What pockets of time do you have to say “yes” to that ability?
- Who or what needs to be told “no” in your life so that you can say that “yes”?
- Is there anything in your life you are doing right now that you need to surrender into God’s hands, trusting that as you say “no” so that you can say “yes” to the most important thing or things, He will bring about in His time or way if it is supposed to happen?
Living life out of your unique ability isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It is a daily listening to Your Father’s voice and trusting Him enough to do what He tells you to do, to live from the purposes for which He created you.
This doesn’t mean we don’t do any tasks that don’t line up with our unique abilities – don’t I wish! There are still dishes to wash, beds to make, emails to return, and math homework to help with. But it does mean that we are to listen to the voice of the Spirit inside of us, pay attention to the beautiful, unique, amazing, extraordinary ways He has made to look like Him, and do those things.
So jump right in. Spring, renewal, and your unique ability is waiting.
Jason is the best about speaking into unique abilities, way better than me, so on Wednesday, be on the lookout for a link to a podcast episode where he talks about this very thing.
For more encouragement throughout the week, you can find me on Instagram, @baker.susannah.